Whitmarsh says Perez won’t be an ‘apprentice’

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If all the pieces fall into place properly, Sergio Perez should be able to compete for victories from the first race in 2013, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh says.

“I don’t see why – if we give him a good enough car – he can’t turn up at the first race in Australia vying for a win,” Whitmarsh said during a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in. “I don’t think he will consider himself an apprentice. I think he will be a quick learner. Time will tell on this, but we’re optimistic and ambitious for him next year.”

We pick up his comments from the handy-dandy official Formula 1 site.

Whitmarsh also says the team considered other drivers, but Perez impressed.

“Obviously we considered a number of options,” he said. “I think Sergio is very young. If you look at what he did in Monaco, setting fastest lap – that was quite an attention-grabbing performance. And he’s obviously had some giant-killing podium race performances this year.

“So I think it’s really just watching him on the circuit and his attitude. He’s a very intelligent, humble individual and we think he’s got greater potential than he’s shown so far.”

Agree? Disagree? Is it too soon to tell? Might the folks in the pits have a better (i.e. closer) sense than the rest of us? (If so, then there are a few driver hirings I bet we’d all like explained.)

Whitmarsh also addressed what has to be one of the big storylines for this season: Just how McLaren and Lewis Hamilton get on during his “lame duck” time.

“We are committed to working as hard as we can to allow Lewis every opportunity to try and achieve a drivers’ world championship and at the same time I believe Lewis is totally committed to working hard with the team to contribute to our assault on the constructors’ championship,” he said.

Again: agree?

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